How his community and kids are helping this paralyzed motocross champion

Posted at 1:00 PM, Oct 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-18 18:11:58-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Nic Hayes is a champion motocross rider with decades of experience on his bike.

So when he crashed while practicing in June, he knew immediately something was wrong.

"I remember everything. I remember hitting. I remember lying there. People came right over, and asked, 'You alright?' I'm like, 'Nope, I’m paralyzed, can’t feel my legs, can’t feel my arms,'" Hayes said.

Hayes was right, the wreck broke his neck.

Nic Hayes motocross champion

After more than 100 days in the hospital and in rehab, Hayes finally returned home to his wife and two kids in Chesterfield County.

"It was emotional but it went better than I was expecting," Hayes said from his hospital bed at home. "Just having [his children] here, hearing their voices, that’s half my driving factor through all this. I still have to be there for the kids."

Hayes was quick to credit his wife Carley for her constant support.

"She never missed a night with me. Just was there overnight, I was very fortunate," he said.

Nic Hayes motocross champion

Carley Hayes said it has been quite the journey.

"Just to see from where he was to where he is now," she said. "From being intubated to now being extubated. Being trachea’d to where he is breathing on his own.”

Both Nic and Carley said they could not have made it to this point without the help of family and friends.

It's that support, whether over the phone or in person, where Nic finds comfort.

"My wife has a full plate. Now she has two kids, she’s got a 34-year-old kid she has to take care of, you know, them just to come in and do stuff or come by the house, help out, do stuff like that, anything, it means so much," he said.

Nic Hayes motocross champion

Recently, friends stopped by to tear down the family's back deck and build a new one complete with a ramp.

Nic Hayes said he understood how important the next 18 to 24 months were in terms of him working hard to try and regain any movement.

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